Kindergarten to College (K2C)
The Kindergarten to College (K2C) program is a pioneer in the arena of children’s savings, as the first universal CSA to be delivered through a public school system in the United States. K2C was championed by the city’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the San Francisco Unified School District in 2010. Today, K2C provides a college savings account to each child entering kindergarten. These accounts are complemented by age-appropriate, classroom-based financial education and activities to encourage savings—including savings matches and school-based ‘bank days’. AEDI is conducting both process and outcome evaluations of K2C to examine what factors relate to successful adoption of CSAs by communities, schools, and families; explore initial community-level effects of CSAs; and conduct rigorous validation of the educational effects of CSA holding on academic achievement scores. We will craft these findings into recommendations for the CSA field regarding program design, implementation, and replication. We will disseminate these findings to CSA practitioners, policymakers, researchers and potential stakeholders, thereby building capacity broadly throughout the field.
Prosperity Kids is the CSA initiative of New Mexico’s community-based Prosperity Works. As part of Prosperity Works’ comprehensive community development interventions, children and families in Albuquerque’s South Valley community have an opportunity for financial inclusion and progressive asset building. Five hundred children from birth to 11 years old whose parents have completed 10 weeks of child development and community leadership training and two weeks of financial capability training are receiving a CSA with a $100 seed deposit in a custodial account at the Rio Grande Credit Union. Family and child deposits into these accounts will be matched up to $200 per year for 10 years. At high school graduation, these funds may be used for post-secondary education or, at age 23, to secure stable financial transition to adulthood. With this approach, Prosperity Kids aims to improve educational attainment and financial security among a disadvantaged population, largely comprised of first-generation immigrants and their children. Within the CSA field, Prosperity Kids is distinctive in that it also includes an emergency savings vehicle for parents. While U.S. policy and financial services have long viewed children as passive recipients of savings, the incorporation of parental savings with a CSA flips that frame, seeing potential value in engaging parents through the lever of their children’s activation as savers, toward a goal of stronger financial standing for the entire family unit.
AEDI is currently collecting qualitative and quantitative data that will allow us to study the effects of the parent training and CSA enrollment on parent and child participation, expectations for the future, and asset formation. These findings may help to inform engagement efforts in other CSA initiatives, including those that use an opt-out design instead of this community-based effort. To gauge the contribution of the savings account component specifically, AEDI’s analysis will explore differences in outcomes between participants and non-participants. Our research in New Mexico can help to shape two-generation asset-building endeavors and guide CSAs tackling challenges related to fostering participation and increasing educational attainment among new immigrants and other disadvantaged populations.
Since 2008, organizations across the Kansas City metropolitan area have come together to promote Money Smart Month of Greater Kansas City. This annual public awareness campaign and collaborative community initiative seeks to support financial education for families, students of all ages, a wide range of professionals and community members, as well as policymakers. This collective effort has evolved into the Kansas City Alliance for Economic Inclusion, a broad coalition with a mandate of financial inclusion and economic opportunity. Stimulated by recommendations from over 400 Kansas City Alliance for Economic Inclusion members, Money Smart – KC is executing a comprehensive marketing plan for the expansion of their financial capability website, designed to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for financial products and information, employment and social service supports, and savings messages. To complement this online approach, partners are leveraging their deep relationships throughout the Kansas City area to deliver targeted multi-media outreach to professionals and families, particularly in the school districts of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. The effort is further supported by the innovative use of volunteers to implement a range of financial capability programs in schools and communities throughout metropolitan Kansas City, including an intensive push for early literacy, given its correlation with academic achievement and the importance of educational attainment for financial well-being. AEDI’s findings regarding assets’ potential to catalyze educational achievement provided the knowledge foundation for this local effort. Today, AEDI is assisting with development of materials, including infographics which distill our research for public consumption, helping the collaborative to identify interim and long-term outcomes, and providing overall programmatic consultation.